“Jericho” fans are nothing if not determined. The loyalists who helped save the show from annihilation after its first season with a well-orchestrated campaign last year have regrouped to find more creative — and not inexpensive — ways to bring attention to their cause. (Last year, “Jericho” fans sent nuts by the truckload to CBS execs.)
The nut-cases delivered to Variety all featured a sticker that read “Save Jericho! “Nuts to Nielsen!!!” highlighting the shortcomings in the ratings service’s ability to track viewing on more than just the old-fashioned live telecast.
“Jericho” stalwarts are convinced that if CBS could get its arms around the number of people who are watching the show via DVRs, web streaming and paid downloads, it might be enough to have convinced the Eye to hang tough rather than nuke the show for a second time as it did last month. The industry’s inability to get a clear understanding of the new world of on-demand viewing habits is a big problem, bigger than even a nuclear bomb going off in the middle of the lone prairie.
“Jericho” fans have also shelled out in the past few days for full-page ads in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter designed to convince another net or cabler to give the show a chance. Pretty bold, given that CBS Paramount Network TV could probably bring the law down on them for shopping something that isn’t exactly theirs to shop. Ad even goes so far as to point interested buyers to CBS Par Entertainment boss Nancy Tellem. CBS, meanwhile, has migrated the show to the “CBS Classics” page of its website and is offering web streaming of all 29 episodes from both seasons.
The “Jericho” fandom may be an irritant to CBS Par execs, but at a time when even TV’s top shows are taking double-digit ratings hits, it’s heartening to see that TV, even canceled TV, can still stir up such passion in viewers who adopt shows as their own.
So thanks to all the “Jericho” lovers out there, and thanks also for the protein boost that many of us at Variety will enjoy during the next few weeks (months?) as we work our way through the peanuts. About an hour after the delivery arrived, the newsroom was a-poppin’ with the sound of peanut shells being opened.